Flu death toll rises to six as virus 'now circulating more intensely'

Cheryl Sanders
January 11, 2019

During the 2018 flu season, 80,000 people died in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC officials say there were 510 confirmed influenza cases through January 5 - down from 768 during the same time period in 2017-2018.

This flu season, which started September 1, is an H1N1 season, and Shahab said health officials are seeing higher rates of the illness among children under the age of five now than in H3N2 seasons.

The vaccine won't prevent 100 percent of flu cases, but it can significantly decrease your chances of getting the flu-by as much as 30, 40, 50 percent or more.

The Florida Department of Health provides free shots for children in Lee County.

A lot of people make excuses not to get a flu shot, according to Price.

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Those with flu symptoms are advised to visit their primary care doctor, a Lee Health Convenient Care, walk-in or urgent care center.

"Every year we get about 30 per cent of people getting immunized, and to me that's a very low number", he said.

"Not too many, but a few deaths have occurred among younger people", she said, without providing details.

Dr. Saqib Shahab said the H1N1 Virus is one of the main strains of virus this year. To shorten wait times, you can also schedule a flu shot at a time convenient for you by calling 419-774-4700.

"We are seeing the shift from the elderly people in the last couple of years, while this year is more of a younger demographic", said Dr. Silvina Mema, Interior Health Medical Health Officer.

Influenza and other virus are circulating throughout the province as flu season is well underway.

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Anyone experiencing trouble breathing, high fever that lasts for several days or those with chronic health conditions are advised to see a physician.

Children 6 months old and younger typically have antibodies in their system passed on by their mothers, and after that, it can take children up to five years to develop a strong immune system. So far, the current vaccine appears to have worked well in that region and is performing better than last year's vaccine.

It's also important to consider that the flu vaccine has been shown to be one of the safest vaccines available. The flu causes symptoms such as fever, cough, body aches and fatigue and in some cases can lead to serious complications and even death.

Flu shots can be given out here at the Mason County Health Department, at many local pharmacies and at doctors' offices.

Other illnesses common to campus this time of year include colds and viruses, namely norovirus, a virus unrelated to the flu that causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines and is characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.

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